Hope everyone is enjoying their President's Day holiday. It is somewhat slow news time in BruinsNation, given that Dan Guerrero's dumpster fire UCLA basketball program is totally irrelevant in the national scene. Normally around this time in the good ole days - harkening back to Jim Harrick era (not Wooden era) - we'd start thinking about closing out strong for the Big Dance, taking it for granted that UCLA would be in the Big Dance.
To be fair, during Harrick years there were some seasons when Bruins closed out the regular season with a stumble dropping a game or two in the last road trip. We did not have to deal with the BS Pac-10 tournament those years. Still though - we'd at least have the tournament to look forward to and we never imagined Bruins being in a situation of having to consider life in the Not-Invited-Tournament. Well we are in that situation now and we have become a national embarrassment. I thought Jon Gold's top lines after the St. John's game give us a good picture of just how epic the humiliation was at MSG (emphasis added):
UCLA was out-savvied by a team starting five true freshmen.
UCLA was out-hustled by a team down to just six players in its rotation.
And UCLA ultimately was outplayed by a team that had lost its previous four games by a combined 87 points.
Guess we can add those numbers into the pile of datapoints here, here and here. Bruins were out-savvied by a team coach by Steve Lavin's lieutenant, which was anchored by 5 freshmen. Yet there was Chianti shamelessly throwing out the "young" excuse to New York based reporters. Couple of additional notes in a shortened President's Day edition of Bruin Bites after the jump.
- Chris Foster from the LA Times reports that Coach Jim Mora sat in an "impressive panel" that addressed the issue about LA and the NFL featuring Bruin legend Troy Aikman, UCLA economist Lee Ohanian and Los Angeles Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer. During the panel Mora predictably was asked about quarterbacks issue at UCLA during which he observed, "If you have two quarterbacks then you have no quarterbacks. We're going to identify a guy and ride him." Those are interesting comments that we will have to keep in mind while tracking spring ball.
- Mora also took a jab at Southern Cal, when he was asked about whether LA can support an NFL team and both Southern Cal and UCLA. He replied, "I think this area can support a pro football team as well as support UCLA and that other school." That kind of quote is fun to read as a UCLA alum, but it will not be fun if Mora doesn't back it up by beating them at the Rose Bowl next season.
- Switching back to basketball, Howland on the "hot seat" continues to play up nationally this time in the New York Daily News. Dick Weiss from the New York Daily News notes, "no one expects Howland to duplicate Wooden's string of 10 NCAA championships, but Bruin fans expect UCLA to honor the Wizard's legacy by earning an invitation to the NCAA Tournament every season and advancing past the first weekend."
- Lastly, Bill Shaklin from the LA Times shared a survey of the "most popular" team in the Los Angelesarea. Lakers are number 1. Not a surprise. Dodgers came in second (again not a surprise). Southern Cal was third. Where is Dan Guerrero's UCLA? Bruins did not make the list. That is right. During Guerrero's incompetent and disgraceful reign as the athletic director of UCLA, Bruins have become totally irrelevant in Los Angeles, as UCLA did not even make the list of eight most popular teams in Los Angeles.
Chew on that last bullet, next time you hear Chianti (we will keep calling the highest paid AD in the Pac-12 by that title until he resigns from UCLA), offer up shameless excuses of team being young, struggles being a "blip in the radar screen," and how the Bruins were in the race for Pac-12 football championship last season.
The school of John Wooden, Jackie Robinson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Walton, Red Sanders, Troy Aikman is now less popular Los Angeles Galaxy, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Clippers in LA. Chew on that next time Dan Guerrero and his cronies at Morgan Center hit you up for donation to the Wooden Athletic Fund. Nothing is going to change at UCLA as long as you keep supporting Guerrero with more contributions his athletic department. Just another point to underscore the need to complete a wholesale regime change at UCLA, focusing on removing Guerrero before transitioning a lame duck Howland out of Westwood.